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4. Petroleum Engineer

Average annual salary: $138,980
Current employment: 30,880

The booming oil industry and specialized skills required for petroleum engineers creates one of the most highly compensated jobs in the country. Petroleum engineers develop plans for oil and gas extraction, production, and tool modification, overseeing drilling operations and providing technical advice.

On average, petroleum engineers working for the oil and gas extraction industry made an annual salary of $150,890. The heavy reliance on natural resources dictates which states have the highest employment of petroleum engineers.

Texas employs the most at 18,060 with an average salary of $146,770 annually. Next is Oklahoma with 3,090 employees paid $146,770 and Louisiana with 2,440 paid around $120,720.